March 28, 2013 Subject:
If there are any 1930s structures at all in your town or city, they are likely to be either large public projects - typically WPA post offices - or wood frame houses under 1500 sf in size. My own neighborhood is largely 30s-built. But the depression treated our town kinder than most - by 1939, we had a new high school, downtown viaduct, and public library.
December 29, 2011 Subject:
FHA must have been of limited utility - at first, anyway.
In the large city where I grew up, there were big gaps in housing starts. Large areas were subdivided in the 1920's but they sat vacant til the mid 1930's. Then a small amount of building occurred right up to WWII; and then, after a 7 year moratorium, the big furious build up after 1948 or so.
Those 1930's houses were awful nice though - much like the ones seen here. Lots of nice architecture and custom details which would not be seen again in most new homes until the 1980's. I guess the old artisans were still around and there were so many laid off architects, builders could skim the cream. It sure paid off to have had your money in a bank that didnt fail during the depression!
An interesting and delightful visit to an era when tasteful housing was being marketed - apparently on a (relatively) large scale - a scenario not to be repeated for many decades.
June 5, 2009 Subject:
Past is Prologue : FHA's 75th Anniversary June 27, 2009
June 27, 2009 marks the 75th anniversary, so this is an update on my review from 5 years ago. I have uploaded a permanent PDF which will be updated several times during June 2009 HERE:
If anyone had told me that we would be facing in 2009 the same kinds of depression era declines in housing activity and hoped for recovery that this film highlights, I would have thought they were crazy.
With the demise of so many other home loan programs, FHA remains as one of the few remaining loan programs that continues to operate. I only hope that FHA has implemented enough safeguards to insure that the program remains viable 75 (or 5) years from now.
Reviewer:Tom , Oregon
June 3, 2004 Subject:
Better Housing and FHA 70th Anniversary June 2004
June 2004 marks the 70th anniversary of the start of the Federal Housing Administration, and the Better Housing movies provide a good visual explanation of the origins of these then revolutionary home programs. The short model home tour provides more than a few laughs, as well as stereotypical images of family roles, and the virtual absence of minority families.
Thankfully, there have been a lot of changes in the country since the time these shorts were shot (FHA is now a leader nationally in providing loans to minority first time homebuyers) but the desire for homeownership remains at least as strong amongst new generations of Americans as it was when these shorts were shot.
Mega credit to Rick Prelinger for these and many other materials in the archive. (I have an earlier Laser Disc with some of these materials that Rick produced and rediscovering these and other archival material on line has been a real treat).
From Tom Cusack [These are my personal comments made from home over the Memorial Day weekend, but as a matter of full disclosure I have worked for HUD for 31 years, and now serve as HUD Director [parent agency for FHA home loan programs]in Oregon]
March 9, 2004 Subject:
Idle Hands Put To Work
A 1935 film about government sponsored housing construction through the National Housing Act. Imagine the government putting people to work for the common good! We dont see much of that today. We see a couple touring a model house. Its a small Mock-Tudor and their expectations are touchingly modest. The dining room is small but adequate for their moderate entertaining. Shes impressed by the flat-top stove and the sturdy built-in ironing board in the kitchen, not to mention the handy cabinets. Too bad they cant afford it . . . But maybe they can! If they qualify for a government sponsored mortgage, that is. Low as the payments for this house may look to us today, it was probably still out of reach of most families during the Depression.
A couple of short, government-sponsored newsreel clips showing how the New Deal is creating more housing and more jobs in building new houses. Construction workers are put back to work building new houses as part of a government-sponsored program, and a middle-class couple inspects a model home, now made affordable by National Housing Administration mortgages. The first scene is pretty standard, and the second is mildly cute. A fun little piece of 30s history.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ***. Weirdness: **. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ***.
January 16, 2003 Subject:
Need a house?
Back in 1935, and when homes cost 25.62 a month in mortgage, this film was made to entice home builders and buyers to stimulate the housing market from the doldrums the past 5 years, Part 1 deals with the sudden increase in building, and how it helps joe worker, who might not have worked in years.
Part 2 is signifigantly more interesting, We follow a recently married couple as they look in on a model home. They're all marvelling over the nice fixtures and furniture (maybe I'm wrong, but was the furniture included in the house price in those days? Because the couple seemed to fall in love with the furniture). They quickly look at the nursery "but that's not needed..... YET". lol. Soon they leave. it's too bad they can't afford it, the narrator says, ah but wait, the house costs 4800 dollars, with 960 dollars down and 27.62 a month mortgage! WOW.